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Top places to live in Berkshire Bucklebury

The Duchess of Cambridge's old stomping ground, Bucklebury is chocolate box pretty in the West Berkshire Downs. Grab your Hunter wellies for a slice of rural splendour. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.

Bucklebury, Berkshire

WHY?

Once Kate, Duchess of Cambridge married her prince (and future king), Bucklebury’s place in the history books was a done deal. Of course, royal stalkers – I mean watchers – will love that the Middleton family still live here and the chance of spotting a certain duchess’s mother doing her weekly shop at Waitrose is very high (I’ve locked eyes with Ma Middie over a bottle of Sauv Blanc at the self-checkout).

EAT

For starters, there are two Michelin star restaurants just a few miles away – The Blackbird and The Woodspeen, just outside Newbury and you can get your fine dining fix at The Vineyard in Stockcross too. For coffee, cake make a beeline for The Blackbird Café. Pubs? There are loads. The Bladebone, The Old Boot in Stanford Dingley, The Pot Kiln in Frilsham, The Royal Oak in Yattendon and for a less pubby more industrial head to the kid- and dog-friendly West Berkshire Brewery Taproom & Kitchen.

SHOP

Despite its location, there are shops for you to flex your credit card. L Interiors is on your doorstep, selling uniques homeware, The Corner Shop in Woolhampton is a treasure trove of gorgeous gifts. Head into Newbury and you have Fifi & Moose selling designer brands like Essentiel Antwerp and the Muddy Award-winning women’s boutique B The Lifestyle Shop.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

There are plenty of playgrounds nearby – join the welly brigade on any number of woodland walks, Bucklebury Farm Park and The Living Rainforest are both winners with the kids. Let’s not forget you’re a short gallop to the Queen’s favourite Newbury Racecourse and Royal Berkshire Shooting School is just a few miles away. And don’t forget the brilliant Watermill Theatre and Corn Exchange theatres for a cultural fix.

AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE

Brace yourself. Average property prices are an eye-watering £916,000. Detached houses cost on average £965,000. Semi-detached homes were £720,000. ­Good local estate agents in the area are Black Cygnet, Dudley Singleton & Daughter, and Jones Robinson.

HOT PROPERTY

SCHOOLS

There’s a good village primary school and it’s in the catchment for the outstanding Kennet School. Plus you’re surrounded by superb independents – for littlies, there’s Harriet House in Frilsham, impressive co-ed prep schools Elstree, Brockhurst & Marlston House and the Duchess of Cambridge’s old stomping ground, St Andrew’s are all nearby. Further afield you’ll find Horris Hill which feeds into the big-name schools like Eton, Winchester and Harrow. For teens, there’s Pangbourne College and Bradfield College.

BEST KEPT SECRET

Celebs and royalty pop up frequently. So you need to learn to be casual. The likes of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge, their royal brood, and Carole and Michael Middleton often hang out in the local pubs. You also might find Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host Chris Tarrant propping up the bar.

COMMUTE

The nearest train station is Midgham, with a few speedy services that’ll get you to London Paddington in an hour. Miss those, and you’ll be on a sluggish stopper that adds another 40 minutes. A season train ticket starts at £4,736. Driving to London takes 1.5 hours. Reading is 20 minutes peak rail travel.

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